Criminals intercepted the new card and PIN, set up online banking, and tried to open fraudulent accounts in the victim's name.
CL had moved to the UK from the United States for work and subsequently opened a new bank account with Barclays, depositing £1,000. As is customary, the bank posted a new debit card and PIN to CL’s address, but these were intercepted by criminals who used the information to empty the account in five separate ATM transactions.
The fraudsters also tried to open new accounts in the US under CL’s name and set up an online banking account using CL’s details. Unfortunately, claiming that bank cards and PINs have not been delivered is a common type of fraud, and so Barclays did not believe CL’s claims that he was, in fact, the victim and so refused to refund the lost money.
CL then raised a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for an independent review of the case; FOS is a Government-backed body that investigates complaints between financial institutions and their customers. The initial FOS investigation agreed with Barclays and claimed that the bank did not owe CL any compensation, but following the complaint to the Guardian and an appeal of the case, CL was awarded £1,000, plus 8% and £200 for the poor treatment by the bank.
The type of fraud that CL experienced is known as unauthorised transaction fraud; this happens when scammers get access to a victim’s confidential information relating to bank or financial services accounts – such as PINs, one-time-passcodes (OTPs), or passwords – which they then use to access the victims’ accounts. Once the scammer has access, they will start to make payments or apply for loans or open accounts in the victim’s name, at which point the account holder realises they have been the victim of fraud.
Usually, recovering funds after unauthorised transaction fraud is immediate unless the bank argues that the customer has been grossly negligent or there is insufficient evidence to prove fraud, as in CL’s case. When banks refuse to compensate, customers can take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for an independent investigation. Following their investigations, FOS has increasingly found that banks have been failing to protect customers from fraud and has instructed them to give refunds.
Sarah Spruce, Head of TLW Solicitors’ Fraud and Scams team, commented:
“While the circumstances of CL’s case do sound similar to some cases where the bank account holder themselves is trying to defraud the bank, if Barclays and FOS had investigated the complaint more thoroughly at the outset, then they should have realised much earlier that CL was not the perpetrator.
This is why it is crucial to have advice and guidance from specialists who regularly deal with these types of claim and have successfully dealt with the FOS complaints and appeals process for years, as my team has. Even if you’re not sure if you have the basis of a case, or you are simply a little embarrassed to speak to someone about what has happened, get in touch with the TLW team for a confidential and no obligation discussion to go through your options.”
Our experienced team of professionals is dedicated to helping clients make compensation claims if they have been the victim of unauthorised transaction fraud and their bank is refusing to compensate.
We are well-versed in the time constraints, requirements, and appeals procedures associated with the refund claim process and well-equipped to handle complex legal arguments and defences that may arise during the claim.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim of an unauthorised transaction fraud and suffered financial losses, our specialist team is available for a confidential and no-obligation consultation. We operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, meaning you will not be charged any fees unless we succeed in securing compensation for you.
Call us on 0800 169 5925, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the online claim or call-back forms below.
Time limits apply, and so anyone wishing to bring a claim, should do so without delay.
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